Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
What would you prefer: Building a concrete canoe with Civil Engineering students or assemble a 13 meter long cake with the Architecture Students? I personally made my choice.

Pictures by (EPFL)

Sanaa Designed Rolex learning center opens at EPFL:

EPFL is one of the world's leading universities in technology and science , renowned for its innovations in research and learning. 
The Rolex Learning Center will function as a laboratory for learning, a library with 500,000 volumes and an international cultural hub for EPFL, opens to both students and the public.Spread over one single fluid space of 20,000 sq meters, it provides a seamless network of services, libraries, information gathering, social spaces, spaces to study, restaurants, cafes and beautiful outdoor spaces. It is a highly innovative building, with gentles slopes and terraces, undulating around a series of internal patios, with almost invisible supports for its complex curving roof, which required completely new methods of construction.  

Builders mould concrete "Wave"
for EPFL Learning Center.
A steady flow of over 600 cement lorries brought a total of 4,300 cubic metres of liquid concrete to the building site for 72 hours non-stop. The process of pouring concrete for the ground level of the complex, wave-shaped 'Learning Center' at Lausanne's Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) was dubbed a success - until the concrete sets. Just before dawn on Friday, the lorries started arriving from two nearby concrete plants at Bussigny and Eclépens, supplying the liquid concrete through a pipe suspended in the air until just after 5am on Sunday. The liquid was fed in between a series of steel reinforcing rods (their diameter of 50 millimetres is the biggestever used in construction in Switzerland) to fill a huge wooden mould held up by scaffolding.
A total of 250 builders specialising in large-scale construction projects were brought to the site to pour the concrete in the right place, vibrate the mixture so that the sediment was evenly distributed and no air cavities formed at the bottom, and to even out the surface. The area which was covered is equivalent to two football pitches.

That is something huge that I would like to share with all of you.
I'm amazed by the curves of the new building that Losinger and its team put up since SANAA won a competition in 2004 in order to design the Learning Center. It's one thing to lean over the scale model and follow the curves and the holes for the building, but it's something else entirely and far more impressive to try to follow the line, with your finger, of the concrete waves that now ripple over the old Mechanic parking lot.


Pictures by A.Herzog


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